I just read a really fantastic interview with Sallie Krawcheck the founder of Ellevest. She has been recognized as an icon but I think there are some really good lessons for regular people in regular jobs too.
Prior to creating Ellevest, a company that encourages women to get educated and participate in the investment market, she was fired TWICE and each time, it was splashed all over the Wall Street News.
She left her small town to go to New York City to start her career in finance but for the first eight years, she felt like she was floundering. She said it took quite a while for her find her way to doing analysis and research where she found her niche. When asked why she stuck with it, she said that she was never going to go back home and tell everyone that it just did not “work out”.
When she found herself between jobs, she said her energy was fueled by anger and determination. She told herself to move on. She said that there are a thousand opportunities for success every week, every day, every month. That’s a lot of drive.
You can read the full article here – it’s got a lot of good juicy bits – including how spending time with her kids actually added value to her role as opposed to being a distraction. You can find more about Sallie on Twitter and LinkedIn.
I had a good discussion with one of my friends this week about using humour at work, especially when you are new in a group or organization. That got me thinking about humour in an interview setting.
An interview is like a first date. You are listening and answering to see if there is a fit, to see if you get along. Do you relate to the same things? Do you share a common language or way of speaking?
There certainly can be some shared laughter in that kind of conversation but be careful it’s not nervous humour. High pitched giggles and bathroom humour are definitely out.
If you are going to say something that you think is funny, check first – is it respectful and professional? There is definitely no room for sarcasm in an interview. Even if the hiring manager seems to be okay with it or throwing out some barbs, don’t do it. Sarcasm is mean and even if it’s delivered in a funny way, it can still hurt someone’s feelings.
If the interviewer says something that’s funny to you, check their face before you burst out laughing. If their eyes and mouth are not warm and smiling, perhaps it is not funny to them. Definitely avoid laughing if they are not laughing. This can be very awkward.
So tread carefully and pay attention.
And disregard this whole thing if you are interviewing at a Comedy Club.
I don’t want to belabor the strength and tenacity that Bianca Andreescu displayed last weekend at the US Open but there are some serious things about her victory that we can all use.
It is okay to be frustrated about your job or your job search. It is okay to complain to your partner, colleague or great aunt. It is not okay to just complain. You need to take action.
Of course you are busy. Sure, you might be the underdog. That’s not an excuse.
Make a plan. Take action. Do something.
If you could design your dream job, what would it be? Make a list of the responsibility you want to have and the knowledge and skills that you want to use. How and what do you want to influence? What do you want to solve?
Once you have that list, get on LinkedIn and find people who are doing those things. Take a look at the Job section. See anything that looks right? Go for it. Hit apply.
Then go back to the people who are doing your next job and send them a note. Ask them to connect because you really admire what they have been able to do in their career. Invite them to reach out to you for a conversation.
Spend some time looking in your own organization. Does the role exist in another office or on another floor? Know anyone there who could introduce you around? (If you work in a really big organization, LinkedIn can be a handy place to look for this intel).
Stay disciplined and focused. Block on your calendar to follow up and do more. Work to not let your busy-ness get in the way of your progress.
Because when you think you have come to the end of your rope, if you look inside, you will always find just a little more.
Wolverine is a comic book hero-mutant who has, among his superhero attributes, a special healing factor that causes him to recover from anything that hurts him. This is really handy when he is fighting bad guys with the X-men or the Avengers.
We would do well to remember that we are not superheroes. Transitions, whether of our own choice or chosen by someone or something else, always take longer than we think they should.
It takes time to recover from the sadness of being dumped in a corporate layoff.
It takes time to feel good after finding out that you did not get the job that was a perfect fit.
It takes time to regain momentum on a job search when you are really busy satisfying a boss you can’t stand.
Can you spare 15 minutes today? Try. It will be worth it.
- Sit down with a beverage, a pen and a piece of paper.
- Write down three things you are proud to tell people about from your career.
- Next add three things that you have achieved in your non-work life.
- Finally, if I asked three of your friends or colleagues about your best attributes, what would they say? Add those words to your list.
Sit back and take a look. Good, eh? You have a lot going for you. Take a deep breath and enjoy it for a moment.
Now, get back out there and slay those career villains!
Setting up an interview can be tricky. No matter how excited you are about the opportunity, it is another thing to squeeze into your already busy life.
When you are offered a time slot, make sure you can build in enough time to travel to the location and a good buffer on the other end as well.
Strategically, early and late in the day are probably best. Those times are usually easier to work into a schedule. Coming in a bit late and leaving a bit early are generally accepted for doctor’s appointments which is good because it won’t draw a ton of attention.
Things get awkward when either party is late for an interview. If you find yourself running late, call or send a short email with an apology and an estimated time of arrival. Try not to panic. You will get there when you get there and swearing at other drivers won’t make a bit of difference.
Hopefully, you took the time to prepare the night before and you know the directions and the suite number. Trying to read your phone and navigate when you are late is really hard to do.
What if you are on time, but the interviewer is late? What you do in this case is really up to you. I usually give 15 minutes grace period. That’s what I would want if I was the one who was late.
You might want to send a note to the person who set up the meeting after you have been waiting for 10 minutes. Maybe they can track the person down and find out what’s going on.
If enough time has elapsed that you are feeling a little irritated, then go. You don’t want to go into a conversation about a job in a pissed-off frame of mind. And honestly, if they don’t make time to meet you, do you really want them?
As this year’s class starts looking towards graduation, I have seen a disturbing trend. There seems to be this idea that university students should focus on finding their passion in their first job.
Find their passion? Most teenagers cannot find their pants. How can we think that they will find their passion somewhere between the pub, the classroom and the dorm?
I think expecting to find your passion before you can legally drink is pretty unrealistic. As parents, we are setting up a pretty big failure platform if we set those expectations before they even leave high school.
There are exceptions: gifted athletes, artists and musicians have their talents identified early on so they are pretty advanced on the passion scale. People following in the family footsteps of law or accounting, have a prescribed path too. (Sometimes in spite of their passion)
University and first jobs are more about finding what you don’t like. Learning about the kind of professors/bosses that you don’t get along with. Working with group members who don’t pull their weight. Figuring how to identify the room mate who parties too much; that sort of thing.
The world is really, really big. You have to get out there and explore it beyond just university. Don’t be surprised if your passion does not start to reveal itself until you are well into your 30s or even later.
In the end, it’s not about when you find it, it’s about recognizing when you are in the right place at the right time and really enjoying yourself. That‘s what we are all shooting for.